When someone says ‘social media’ what is the first thing that comes to mind? When it comes to social media most people think of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. However, messenger apps have made a name for themselves, with their popularity and number of users growing every year, it’s hard to ignore the importance of messenger apps when it comes to marketing to and reaching your target audience.
‘Facebook’s $19 billion acquisition of WhatsApp sounds smarter and smarter. CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced on the Q4 2017 earnings call today that WhatsApp now has 1.5 billion users and sees 60 billion messages sent per day. That’s compared to 1.3 billion monthly users and 1 billion daily active users in July.’
‘The massive growth makes Facebook’s choice to pay more than $19 billion to acquire WhatsApp look prescient. At the time in 2014, WhatsApp had just 450 million monthly active users and 315 million daily active users.’
Quotation taken from techcrunch.com, click here to read more.
So, WhatsApp has a vast pool of users making it a valuable target for marketing. Luckily, here’s a quick walkthrough on marketing for WhatsApp.
Let’s start with the basics: WhatsApp, what is it?
WhatsApp is a free messenger app bought by Facebook in 2014 for 19 billion US dollars. WhatsApp facilitates the free exchange of images, videos, multimedia files and also offers free video and voice calls.
WhatsApp gained a lot of traction in countries such as Brazil, where the cost of sending SMS and MMS messages is expensive, so users turned to the readily accessible WhatsApp as a free alternative.
According to the German database company, Statista, from the third quarter of 2017, 73 percent of Saudi Arabia’s population uses WhatsApp, closely followed by Malaysia’s 68 percent and Germany’s 65 percent.
How does WhatsApp work?
Once you have downloaded and installed WhatsApp to your mobile device you could then download it to your desktop or laptop. WhatsApp requires a working phone number and then sends you a confirmation code in order to verify the country of residence.
Setting up a WhatsApp profile is also a simple process; you can either set a profile up using your Facebook credentials or you could upload a photo and username from scratch.
Granted that you give the app permission it will access contacts from your contact list to give you an updated list of who is and isn’t using WhatsApp.
Sharing messages, images, and videos via WhatsApp can be broken down into 3 categories:
1. Group chats: Group chats give users the ability to communicate with up to 256 WhatsApp users simultaneously, exchanging messages, videos, and images. Everyone in the group chat can interact with one another freely without restrictions.
2. Private messages: Private messages can be made directly between two users, where they can share images, videos and can call for free by video or voice call.
3. Sending messages to a broadcast list: by sending a message in a broadcast list you can reach up to 256 contacts and when someone replies the message opens as a private message between each user.
What are the benefits of using WhatsApp for business?
With over 60 billion messages sent via WhatsApp every day, it is difficult to shy away from such a major platform, especially if you are trying to expand your business through online social marketing.
According to research, WhatsApp users are more likely to engage with a business they know and have previously communicated with through a messenger app.
Research by Pew Research Center suggests that:
Social media sites are not the only venue where people can connect with others online. Today smartphone owners (at the time of this survey, 72% of American adults) can choose from a variety of messaging apps that fill many of the same functions. Some of these apps look and function like a traditional chat or messaging service, while others offer unique features — such as the ability to post anonymously or to have one’s posts expire or delete themselves after they are viewed.
This survey asked about three different types of messaging apps that people might have on their smartphones and found that:
· 29% of smartphone owners use general-purpose messaging apps such as WhatsApp or Kik. Due to a change in how this question was asked, this figure is not directly comparable to a previous measure collected in 2015.
· 24% use messaging apps that automatically delete sent messages, such as Snapchat or Wickr. This represents a 7-point increase from a survey conducted in 2015 (at that point 17% of smartphone owners used these apps).
· 5% use apps that allow people to anonymously chat or post comments, such as YikYak or Whisper. This is the first time Pew Research Center has asked about these types of apps.
In general, messaging apps are especially popular among younger smartphone owners. Some 56% of smartphone owners ages 18 to 29 use auto-delete apps, more than four times the share among those 30–49 (13%) and six times the share among those 50 or older (9%). Similarly, 42% of smartphone owners ages 18 to 29 use more general messaging apps like WhatsApp or Kik, compared with 19% of smartphone owners ages 50 or older.
What approach do I take when attempting to tackle WhatsApp marketing?
Firstly, WhatsApp does not offer a business account which means that your business will face the same limitations that any other user faces. For example, being able to send a message to a maximum of 256 contacts at one time. Having said this, this limitation can have its benefits. A WhatsApp account is directly linked to a user’s personal phone number making quite a personal mode of marketing. With the majority of a person’s time spent on messenger apps and mobile devices, it is of paramount importance that you optimize your marketing campaign to reach your target audience but simultaneously stay relevant and unobtrusive in your approach.
WhatsApp may not be as friendly to the world of social marketing as Facebook Messenger is for example, but with its vast popularity it can be a great way of broadening your business by reaching a wider WhatsApp audience.